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10 September 2015

UNRWA Partners with Harvest Your Data to Conduct Poverty Assessment Home Visits in Gaza




Today, Harvest Your Data has announced a private-public initiative with The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

Families who have been long awaiting – some for over a year – to be considered for food assistance can now be surveyed and expect a fast-tracked result, which means that those who qualify will start receiving their food rations as soon as next quarter. Harvest Your Data has developed a survey data collection app that is capable of conducting poverty assessment surveys with more than one million Palestinian refugees, including the current 876,000 beneficiaries and new applicants. The data collection app saves time and captures more accurate information by replacing paper forms previously used.  

Using the app, UNRWA preloads home visit “baseline” data that has been collected in prior months onto social workers’ tablet devices. During the social workers’ home visit, they can quickly and easily update historical data and collect new poverty assessment data.  

Harvest Your Data Founder and CEO, Stephen Cohn, said "Conducting baseline surveys on mobile and tablet devices is now possible with the Harvest Your Data Android app. NGO’s can now preload baseline data onto Android devices, disconnect from the internet and go into the field to collect additional data or update existing data. It’s hard to imagine a more challenging environment than the Gaza Strip but UNRWA reports that the system is working flawlessly in both the tablet data collection in the field and the backend database integration with UNRWA’s systems.” 

The Harvest Your Data app has been customized to the Gaza context.  It is designed to assess large families and create household profiles with up to 35 members with various characteristics. The app on the tablet guides the social workers through the survey process, making sure no questions are missed. The software checks the consistency of answers with previous replies to ensure the quality and accuracy of the assessment.

“The innovation of the PAS software is remarkable. The assessment is a lot faster and more transparent and the waiting period for beneficiaries to learn the assessment results will be much shorter, which is very important for them.” commented 33-year social worker Amani Mkheimar who has been involved in the UNRWA poverty assessments for the past five years.

The Harvest Your Data app can be customized for a variety of data collection applications that require mobile devices to work offline with preloaded data although many organizations find that the app already has all the features they need.

About UNRWA

UNRWA is one of the largest United Nations programs, with over 30,000 personnel working across five areas of operations, and is unique in that it delivers services directly to beneficiaries.  UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full human development potential.


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